David Bates: Beyond Prediction. Artificial Intelligence and the Crisis of Decision

On December 20th, 2021, David Bates (UC Berkeley) gave his talk “Beyond Prediction. Artificial Intelligence and the Crisis of Decision” in the Series “Carte Blanche IV – UA Ruhr Meets International Guests” on Zoom.

Much of the current debates around Artificial Intelligence concerns the implicit and even explicit bias of opaque and complex algorithms used in Machine Learning systems. A new wave of scholarship has exposed these failings and in response new organizations and research centers for “ethical AI” or “human-centered AI” have emerged. The goal is to maintain a human “decision” both in setting goals or norms, and in choosing appropriate methods to guarantee outcomes. In this talk, David Bates will interrogate contemporary AI through the problem of decision, first by highlighting the always technical condition of human cognition, and then through the question of conflicting norms. Finally, through a critical analysis of predictive AI and parallel developments in Cognitive Science, Bates will argue that human decision is always a break with norms in moments of crisis, and only human beings are capable of these decisions despite the necessity of technological support.

David Bates is Professor in the Department of Rhetoric at UC Berkeley, where he teaches Intellectual History. His interests lie in the history of cognition, technology studies, and political thought. He is completing a book on technology and thinking, entitled: An Artificial History of Natural Intelligence.

Danilo Scholz, KWI

YouTube video